Focus on attracting high-value tourists to Sabah, says Bersatu rep

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah must attract more high-value tourists instead of being content with the influx of budget travellers, says a Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) representative.

"Over-tourism with budget tourists may not be a good thing in the long run," said the Sabah Bersatu Wanita chief, Rahimah Majid.

She said that Sabah should strive to attract "high-quality tourists" who are more willing to spend money to experience nature, diverse cultures and the warm hospitality here.

Rahimah added that brainstorming sessions must be held to solve water and other infrastructure woes, and sessions with key stakeholders from the tourism industry to identify shortcomings and issues facing the industry should also be conducted.

"This is crucial to really resuscitate and rejuvenate our lacklustre tourism industry, post-pandemic," she said.

Citing examples, she said perennial issues and complaints received from both tourists and tourism industry players included poor hygiene and cleanliness, power and water supply, and infrastructure like roads.

"We should strive to upgrade the existing facilities and amenities at our tourist destinations to better attract wealthy tourists who are willing to pay a premium price to experience our awesome nature, diverse culture and unique cuisines of our people," said Rahimah.

"This will also allow us to better safeguard and preserve our invaluable environment for posterity," she stressed.

She said countries such as Bhutan, New Zealand, the Caribbean Cayman Islands, Fiji, Iceland, Netherlands, Japan, Indonesia and Thailand had started implementing policies and programmes that focused on attracting "high-quality-and-high-value" tourists post-pandemic.

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